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Culture Jamming

Top pop culture picks for your shelf this week

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TOP PICK

Yellow Submarine

(EMI)

As they got more and more famous, the Beatles' movies got more and more self-indulgent. By the time they made this 1968 animated feature, they were pretty much making these things for their own head trips. But what a trip. This is pop art at its most accessible, hummable, and inviting. The Blu-ray debut looks and sounds spectacular. Roll up for a magical mystery tour.

VIDEO GAME

Batman: Arkham City Game of the Year Edition

(Warner Bros. Interactive/DC)

No shit – this Batman game was one of 2011's very best. This repackaging (available for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3) adds a whole bunch of the downloadable content (skins, map challenges, etc.), as well as the new Harley Quinn's Revenge mission. It all adds up to an even better and richer game experience, as you lead the Dark Knight through the most open-ended Gotham ever created.

VIDEO

Harold and Maude

(Criterion)

Harold Ashby's 1971 black comedy – about a death-obsessed twentysomething who hooks up with an old lady pushing 80 – comes to Blu-ray in a terrific Criterion package that includes some insightful extras, like a new interview with Cat Stevens, who wrote the soundtrack. The movie itself holds up as a counterculture exercise in bridging the generation gap during an era when everyone else was breaking it down.

MUSIC

Rock of Ages: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

(WaterTower)

You already know which side you take on the big-screen adaptation of the Broadway musical built on the scraps of '80s rock songs: It's either the best thing ever made about the era or it's a cynical nudge at nostalgia loaded with crappy music. This soundtrack features all of the movie's stars – including Julianne Hough, Alec Baldwin, Russell Brand, and, yes, Tom Cruise – plowing through Journey, Poison, and Whitesnake.

BOOK

Star Wars: The Secret Life of Droids

(DK)

Is this the book where C-3PO finally comes out of the closet? Sadly, no. But if you ever wondered exactly what all those droids walking around in the Star Wars universe did for a living, this incredibly detailed book is for you. From the tiny droid rolling beneath Chewbacca's furry feet to the monstrous tank-like robots that somehow failed to kill Jar Jar, you'll learn more than you ever wanted to know about these geared-up denizens.

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